Thu | Jun 17, 2021

Great balls of fire

Published:Saturday | April 14, 2012 | 12:00 AM

Tony Deyal, Contributor

One of the major reasons for communication problems is that we use the same word to describe a variety of phenomena that are essentially different. Take the word 'love'. We believe that 'love makes the world go round' and 'love is in the air'. We say, "I love my wife", "I love my house", "I love my car", "I love our dog."

As one language expert pointed out, "Hopefully, we are using the same word to describe different emotions, and that the love we feel for our car or dog is not the same we feel or express for our wives."

The word 'ball' is another word that has a variety of meaning or interpretations. As a noun, it is a solid or hollow sphere or ovoid, especially one that is kicked, thrown, or hit in a game. This would apply to a cricket or soccer ball. But it can also be the rounded protuberant part of the foot at the base of the big toe or thumb.

In vulgar slang, the plural 'balls' can mean the testicles, as well as the possession of courage or nerve. It can be an exclamation meaning 'rubbish' or it can be a 'screw-up' or complete mess. It is also a village in Barbados.

A friend once pointed out to me that in terms of 'balls' to mean courage the term 'guts' is also widely used, but insists there is a distinction that goes beyond 'intestinal' and 'testicular' fortitude. He says 'guts' is arriving home late after a night out with the boys, being met by your wife with a broom, and having the 'guts' to ask, "Are you still cleaning, or are you flying somewhere?" 'Balls' is coming home late after a night out with the boys, smelling of perfume and rum, lipstick on your collar, slapping your wife on the butt and having the 'balls' to say, "You're next, Chubby."

Anatomy or courage

During a cricket match in South Africa, a Jamaican pace bowler overstepped the bowling crease and the Barbadian female commentator said, "That's the problem with (X) - no balls, no balls." This could have been interpreted as a comment on the man's bowling, his anatomy or his courage.

Some of the best puns and jokes come from the deliberate exploitation for humorous purposes of the many meanings of a word like 'ball'. A man received an ad in the mail for a golf resort where everything cost only one dollar. He jumped at the offer and headed off for the weekend. He arrived, played a round of golf, and it cost him one dollar. That evening, he went for dinner and it cost him another dollar. Even his room was only one dollar a day. The following day, before checking out, he headed out to play one last round.

On the way, he stopped by the pro shop and charged a sleeve of three balls to his room. Standing at the checkout desk, he looked at his bill and saw, 'Golf: $2. Dinner: $1. Room: $1. Sleeve of Golf Balls: $3,000.' He was outraged. He called the manager over and exclaimed, "What is this all about? Everything is supposed to cost one dollar and you charged me $3,000 for three golf balls!" "I'm sorry, sir," replied the manager, "obviously, you failed to read the fine print in our promotional brochure. That is what our golf balls cost."

"Excuse me," the man replied, "but had I wanted to spend that kind of money, I would have gone to the luxury hotel across the street and paid them a thousand dollars a day for a room. At least I would have known what I was paying for!"

"That's right, sir, you could have," said the manager. "Over there, they get you by the room. Over here, we get you by the balls!"

Sometimes, unfortunately, such a situation is not funny, especially when the punchline is literal. It is like the remarks about the pig when commenting to a chicken about their respective contributions to a dish of ham and eggs, "For you, Madam," he observed, "it is merely part of your day's work, but it represents a genuine sacrifice on my part."

Severed ties

This is the sad case of an Indiana man who was rushed to the hospital after his scrotum was the victim of a vicious attack by an ex-girlfriend. According to the Daily Caller, the victim reportedly told police that his former girlfriend, Christina Reber, stormed into his apartment as he was innocently sitting at his computer. Reber, with whom he had severed ties a few days earlier, first struck him on the head and then grabbed his scrotum and began "squeezing as hard as she could". Naturally, he told officers that he "was in incredible pain when [she] grabbed his scrotum and began digging in her fingers".

The police report indicates that the scrotum area was "completely torn loose from his body". Reber reportedly "refused to let go of his scrotum", but that the victim was finally able to remove his balls from her vice-like grip. The newspaper which used the opening line 'Talk about a ball buster' also observed: "As if the story isn't already good enough, the victim, who has not been identified, was taken to BALL MEMORIAL HOSPITAL. As far as we know, the hospital is not only for scrotum-specific injuries."

In an interview two days after the incident, the man told police that after his ex was done breaking his balls, his family jewels are so swollen that he is unable to work, and he isn't sure if there will be permanent damage. Reber was charged with two felonies: aggravated battery and illegally entering the victim's home. She was also charged with a misdemeanour domestic battery." The headline for the story was, 'Angry ex-girlfriend goes ballistic, rips off man's scrotum'.

Almost every man in the world would not only sympathise with the sufferer but would demand a stiff sentence for Ms Reber. No woman can ever appreciate the agony or understand the importance these particular anatomical attributes hold for us. In fact, the first testicular guard, the 'Cup', was used in hockey in 1874 and the first helmet was used in 1974. That means it only took 100 years for men to realise that their brains are also important.

Tony Deyal was last seen saying that whatever you may think about Ms Reber's behaviour, she found the only way to get any man's undivided attention.